About

13 Ways Inc. was founded as a company to facilitate success in building communities people want to live in and can prosper within. Doug Griffiths, the founder and chief community builder for 13 Ways Inc. started the company with a passion and commitment to improving the lives of people in small rural communities. Since then our team has expanded to include experts in facilitation, branding and marketing, retail and downtown redesign opportunities, and building intentional healthy communities.

As well, our work has grown from serving local community needs, to North America wide consultations, to now providing advice and services to communities overseas. Our entire team brings all our broad experiences, formal education, and acquired knowledge to bear on each community we serve so we can help them find their own pathway to success.

Doug Griffiths currently is the President of his company 13 Ways Inc. and author of the best selling book, 13 Ways to Kill Your Community.

After teaching and ranching for several years, Doug successfully served as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Province of Alberta for four consecutive terms. In that time he served in two senior Cabinet portfolios as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Service Alberta, as well as three junior positions in Agriculture, Finance and Solicitor General.

Once retiring from politics in 2005, he actively pursued his passion of helping communities, organizations, and businesses grow stronger.

Doug has acquired an Honors B.A. Philosophy, followed by a B.Ed., and he recently completed the Executive MBA program at the University of Alberta. Education, whether he is learning or teaching, has always been an important aspect of his life.

Doug’s talents include: seeing through the lies we tell ourselves, overcoming bad attitudes, targeted and focused tactical planning, communicating with those who are afraid of change, and building enduring prosperity for communities. His passion lies in building strong communities, because within strong communities leadership can succeed, businesses can prosper, and families can find great quality of lives.

Heather Thomson is focused on helping people, businesses and communities grow.

In her current position as Executive Director of the University of Alberta’s School of Retailing, Heather works with leaders in the retail sector and the commercial real estate sector with an emphasis on education, consulting, academic research, applied research, and industry outreach.

Heather is also part of the leadership team at 13 Ways Inc., a consulting firm that develops strategic plans to help communities grow and prosper. Her enthusiasm for communities began while she was with Executive Education at the U of A where she designed and developed a program of study attended by hundreds of municipal leaders who upon completion of the course received a Certificate in Municipal Management and Leadership.

Her clients have included Londonderry Mall and the City of Edmonton as well as the communities of Raymond and Barrhead. She has also advised communities in Minnesota and Idaho.

Heather is passionate about the retail sector and consumer behaviour. She is currently working on her MSc in Organizational Psychology from the University of London. Heather has more than a decade of leadership experience in a variety of retail settings including lululemon athletica, ATB Financial, and the food and beverage industry.

Ashley Szakal takes care of all things digital. In addition to working on 13 Ways projects, she works with communities to enhance their digital presence from branding to website design. Before starting her Digital Marketing Agency in 2018, Ashley worked as a Marketing & Corporate Image Manager for 10 years. Her work saw her travel across North America, Europe and Asia to develop global marketing strategies.

In the little spare time Ashley has with a new 4 month old son, she enjoys volunteering by helping nonprofits with their marketing needs. She is currently on the board of directors of Girls Inc. of York, and volunteers in their summer camps to teach girls aged 6-18 to code. Fun fact about Ashley: in addition to her love of digital creativity, she is also a certified robot programmer!

Courtney Borst started with 13Ways as the Operations Manager in June 2019. Courtney was previously working for Executive Education at the University of Alberta starting as a Program Administrator for the Government Portfolio. She then filled a temporary position as Program Advisor in the municipality portfolio, then move to a Program Coordinator for the Public portfolio. A few of Courtney’s clients included the Government of Alberta, The Government of the Northwest Territories, The Tlicho Government, and Alberta Health Services. While filling in for the Advisor position Courtney discovered her curiosity and interest for the municipal world and gladly accepted a position with 13 Ways.

Courtney received her Marketing Diploma from Flemming College in Peterborough Ontario, a certificate for Hospitality Management from The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and finally her Wedding Planner Certificate. Her passion for learning, change and organization has pushed and guided her to new challenges and adventures in her career and personal life.